In 1979, Edwin Hawkins, the Father of Contemporary Gospel Music and arranger of the smash hit Oh Happy Day held the first Music and Arts Seminar in San Francisco, California with a desire to provide instruction, information and inspiration to aspiring Gospel singers, songwriters, musicians, choir directors, producers and those in devoted to worship and sacred arts.
Some three decades later (after merging with the late Bishop Walter Hawkins' Love Fellowship Church Conferences) the Edwin and Walter Hawkins Music and Arts Love Fellowship Conference will celebrate its 35th year anniversary and draw Gospel music devotees from across the globe to the Gospel Music Capital of the world, Chicago, Illinois.
"I love Chicago", said Hawkins. "There is so much Gospel Music history in the city. Chicago was the home of the greats, the Father of Gospel Music, Professor Thomas A. Dorsey (who was with us at our first convention) Sallie Martin, Mahalia Jackson, Roberta Martin, Delois Barrett Campbell, Albertina Walker, Inez Andrews, Rev. Clay Evans, Pastor Maceo Woods and the list goes on. Chicago is now home to the some of Gospel's current music influencers like Jonathan McReynolds, Donald Lawrence, Ricky Dillard, Tiff Joy and others. The Lord has allowed us to be together for 35 years, and I'm ecstatic that we get a chance to have a reunion celebration in the Windy City. The key to the continuation of our genre is empowerment through education. Its up to us to train future generations, giving them the origins and celebrated history of this great music we know as Gospel music to prepare them for whats to come"
The convention begins with pre-festivities on Friday, June 24th celebrating the Gospel quartets. On Sunday, June 26th the convention will pay tribute to the legendary Reverend Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers featuring a host of Chicago area community choirs including Malcolm Williams and Great Faith, Paul Turner and CMI, Dexter Walker and Zion Movement and William Smith and RVC. A host of classes for young people and adults will be presented Monday through Friday with guest preachers gracing the convention including Pastor Tecoy Porter, Pastor Clayborn Lea, Pastor John Hannah, Bishop Keith Clark and several others. The convention will close on Friday evening with a concert featuring the Mass Choir on July 1st.
For registration details and other information, please visit the website at www.Hawkinsgospelconference.org or the convention Facebook page at hawkinsconference.